Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snow in the City

We had our first real snow of the season beginning this past Tuesday. I work in an 11-story office building that looks across a highway off-ramp to another office building, with a few sparse landscape trees planted alongside it. My friend Ginny called to tell me there was a hawk in one of the trees. I quickly ran to the window and sure enough, there was a large bird sitting very close to the trunk on one of the trees. It looked to me like an immature red-tailed hawk, and our mutual friend Lori who's a serious birder was called in with her binoculars and confirmed the ID. It was really remarkable seeing this large (about 20-24 inches tall) brown and white bird sitting in a tree, with snow falling all around her (just guessing this was a female because female red tails tend to be larger than the males). The bird looked to be bigger around than the trunk of the tree she was sitting next to. She mostly had her head tucked under one wing, but then would occasionally look up and around. Out of the corner of my field of vision i saw movement and realized that quite a few people in the building across the street were coming to their windows to look at the hawk, too. After about 20 minutes she was gone, flying off into the steadily falling snow. Lovely glimpse of the wild in the city!

I didn't go in to work on Wednesday, not so much because of the snow but because of the inch or so of freezing rain/sleet that fell on top of it. I telecommuted on Wednesday instead of was nice not having to deal with the potentially slippery roads and still have a productive day at work. I had filled the feeder Tuesday night and Wednesday there was a non-stop stream of house finches, cardinals, chickadees, tufted titmice, juncoes, blue jays, and mourning doves--all of our winter regulars--flying back and forth to the feeder. (And the thanks they gave me was that whoever had been perching in the apple tree above my car pooped all over it *g*.)

It was pretty funny hearing our President teasing about Washington's response to the snow. The smallest amount of snow seems to throw the city into a panic. It's not as if Washington doesn't have snow plows (as might be the case of cities further South). And the county where i live, about 50 miles west of the city, seems to close schools at the drop of a snowflake. The justification is that the northern part of the county is "mountainous" and it's not safe for the school buses. I don't know...we lived for two years in upstate New York with over 150 inches of snow each winter and only missed one day of school, and that was because of an ice storm. You notice that i didn't go in to work on Wednesday, however. I think i know how to drive in ice and snow (and have a fair amount of experience doing it, and now drive an all-wheel drive vehicle that's pretty capable) but it's all those other drivers out there who you have to watch out for! The guys in the big pickup trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles who think they can drive even faster than usual...the people in the little cars with the bald tires who have no idea how to drive in snow...the people who drive at 10 miles an hour endangering everyone else impatiently stacked up behind them... Anyhow, i was glad to avoid them!

And here's what the kitties have been up to. Gingy kneading the bed into shape before settling for the night (she's a regular bed companion now):

Fuzzy showing how much cat can fit into a half-bushel box on a cold winter's day:

And pirate Louie! When i adopted him, he was a small, slightly scruffy street kitten with a pirate's eye patch, an endearing swagger, and fabulous purr. I knew he needed a French-sounding name, and Louie is what i came up with. At some point, i noticed that he's got a little hole running through his's as if he got snagged by a claw all the way through his ear and it healed but never grew back together. I figure that's where he used to wear his pirate earring! I was wearing hoop earrings Wednesday so while Louie was snuggling, i put one of my earrings on him. He's not crazy about things dangling from his ear, so i took a quick picture and then took the earring back off.


  1. If you want to see real panic at the drop of a snowflake, you should try some of our major European cities! Two inches of snow results in total paralysis in Paris or London! #1 works from home all of the time and that suits both her and us really well!

    Louise looks very debonair with his pirate earring, but we can imagine that he wouldn't want it there all the time!

  2. Aw, Louie looks so cool with his pirate ear ring! Very Captain Jack! Yes, I'm afraid it's true, us Brits have paroxisims of terror at even the thought of snow, let alone actual snow - we just can't cope with it at all!

  3. Nice story about the hawk. We have them in our back yard all summer long. The ARE big! We have turkey vultures, too, and sometimes they are hard to tell apart from a distance. (Well, one is red at one end and the other is red at the other end!)
    We finally bullied our supervisor into lettings us off the hook for delivery on Wednesday. The sheriff called a level three emergency. That's really what saved us.

    Your cat-in-the-box looks like mine. Maine Coon? I may have asked you that before. Mine does that, too.

  4. It's so exciting to see a hawk and especially in places one would never expect to see one!
    Your description is wonderful!
    Oh, the snow and ice! We did get about 10 more inches of snow this week in Maine and before it ended the sleet came. There are parts of roads that are in the shade in which the ice has built up and those are very treacherous as is our driveway etc. Yesterday road salt was on our shopping list and everyone was out of it! Our last stop was an unlikely place to have such a thing, but they did have a few bags left which we immediately bought.
    I love the photos of your kitties and the earring is great...amazing you were able to put it on him at all!

  5. The Hawk sounded amazing. We rarely get snow here in my part of South West England (UK) but it causes chaos in other parts of the country. You think folk would be used to it by now!

    The cats are ALL adorable - we particularly love the pic of Loui with his earring - but we are glad for safety's sake that he doesn't wear it all the time. He makes a splendid pirate though.

  6. We have snow too! The first in almost three years :o) Amazingly things have not ground to a halt, though I bet there is no bread in the shops about now...

    Thank you for your very kind comment on my baby quilt. Coming fom a real quilter it is treasured :o)

  7. Hi everybody. Funny that we were commenting on snow, and suddenly...London has ground to a halt!

    Tom and Tana-Chan you're right about Louie...he tolerates his earring for a brief photo shoot, but that's about it. I wouldn't want to upset him, nor make him feel he had to paw at it and possibly pull it out.

    Hi Liz! Yep, both Louie and Fuzzy sport some of that Captain Jack Sparrow eyeliner, too!

    Katie Jane, we have lots of turkey vultures around here, too. They're a lot bigger than the redtails, and fly with their wings in a very distinctive broad V. Glad you didn't have to do your route on Wednesday. And yep, i think Fuzzy might be part Maine Coon.

    Hi Nan. You guys have just gotten pummeled with snow this winter! I'm so glad your power is staying on, and that you were able to find salt.

    Hi Milo and Alfie. I wonder if you guys got snow today? Yes, Louie would need to wear a stud earring rather than a hoop for safety *g*, really, i only put it on for a moment. He's quite the little swashbuckler, though.

    Hi Sian. I saw on your blog that one of your daughter's had never seen snow exciting for her!

  8. Those are such nice pics, especially Louie the pirate! And Gingy is ginger and floofy like me!

    Yes, London is snowbound today!

  9. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my fabric art! I too am a cat lover and yours are beautiful! As I sit here writing this, a light snow is falling, but here in New England, we are used to it!!!
    Nice to 'meet' you through Karen!!

  10. Thank you for dropping by our blog. Seems you and our woman have things in common. She has a box filled with stamps she uses to make cards with, she likes to try new recipes and come up with her own; she also enjoys taking photos and posts some of her stuff on her photo blog.

    Take care!

    Ms. P and Cinza

  11. Thanks for dropping by again. Hope you don't mind, but we've added your link to our site.

    Our woman loves your menorahs.

    Ms. P and Cinza

  12. PS If you're interested, she posts some of her photos on

  13. Hi Ms. P and Cinza, thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed looking at your woman's photos (but i really like pictures of the two of you best!).

    Cliff and Olivia, you can have earrings, too...just need to find someone who will pierce your ear with a very sharp claw...or maybe a shoppe that specializes in kitty jewelry? *g*

    Hi Glenna! thanks for stopping by!